In Pursuit of True Civility; or, On Standing Up for the Common Good

In Pursuit of True Civility; or, On Standing Up for the Common Good

There’s been a lot of flap about civility in the news lately, and I’ve seen it mirrored on my news feeds posted by friends, family, and acquaintances. “If we’re to ask for civility for the little guy, then we also need to give it to government employees,” they say. Or “You may not respect the man, but at least respect the office.” As someone who’s been teaching about civility for years, and who’s also been away on a trip until…

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Christian Folk, Let’s Stand Up Against Abuse!

Christian Folk, Let’s Stand Up Against Abuse!

We’ve spent a few weeks discussing the toxic patterns that can be enabled by conflict-avoiding “Christian nice” spiritualities and the ways they can make us sick. It’s high time we discuss what healthier spiritual responses to conflict look like. In this post, I’ll outline what I see as an excellent constructive way to approach conflict in abuse situations by jumping off an excellent reflection by Abbot Tryphon, the leader of the All-Merciful Saviour Monastery of the Russian Orthodox Church on…

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How “Christian Nice” Can Literally Make Us Sick

How “Christian Nice” Can Literally Make Us Sick

Now that we’ve dived into a few nuances of the toxic sides of “Christian nice” (see the bottom of this page for the earlier posts), it’s time for us to discuss why the gangrene metaphor I used in that post isn’t so metaphorical. Which is all to say that it’s time to discuss how suppressing our stress and emotions and disagreements literally makes us sick. My Experience and Some Disclaimers Before I dive into the details, let me say I’ve…

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Christian Folk, Please Stop Enabling Human Rights Violations!

Christian Folk, Please Stop Enabling Human Rights Violations!

Note: This post is an example of me enacting Assertive Spirituality. It is doing so about the recent zero tolerance US immigration policies. If you’re new to this site and want to know what Assertive Spirituality is, check out my part 1 and part 2 of the site’s definition posts. If you want to know what’s going on at the US border, please google major news outlets that fact-check their work and admit to errors when they accidentally commit them….

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Swear-policing part 2/”Christian Nice” part 3: The Robert DeNiro Vulgarity Case

Swear-policing part 2/”Christian Nice” part 3: The Robert DeNiro Vulgarity Case

So as I started writing this I was recovering from a Facebook conversation about the Robert DeNiro’s vulgarity. (Literally recovering—as will be discussed in next week’s post, I feel aggression of all kinds can cause literal pain under some circumstances, and as I’ve said, I’ve been there and done that regarding all kinds of conflict situations.) At any rate, I’m very glad I pushed through the twinges to engage in the conversation thoroughly with those of opposing perspectives, if only…

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The Toxicity of “Christian Nice” Part 2: Some Tips to Counter Cordial Hypocrisy

The Toxicity of “Christian Nice” Part 2: Some Tips to Counter Cordial Hypocrisy

Since I wrote my post on the toxicity of “Christian Nice,” two friends in Christian ministry contexts sent me this tips and tricks piece published at Christianity Today. This article, specifically directed at Christian pastors, offers specific conflict confrontation tips to deal with the passive-aggression of “Christian Nice.” Especially since one reader of the previous piece wanted more examples and healthy conflict confrontation tips, I wanted to offer it here, and also put in my two cents, including some cautions….

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The Toxic Spirituality of “Christian (Midwest Middle Class White People) Nice” (Part 1)

The Toxic Spirituality of “Christian (Midwest Middle Class White People) Nice” (Part 1)

Okay, so as I think I’ve said before, I grew up as a pastor’s kid (in church slang, a PK) in the Midwest. I’m not saying my life was the plot of Footloose or anything, but it was a cultural climate that was VERY white, very tribal-Christian, very “Christian-Midwest nice.” It was also pretty patriarchal. And honestly, I think the particular brands of conflict avoidance I’m about to discuss enabled that and other unhealthy societal structures quite a lot. Let…

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The Truths about Stress, Trauma, and Gun Violence

The Truths about Stress, Trauma, and Gun Violence

Note: I originally wrote a shorter version of this article this in February in response to the Parkland school shooting and posted it on Facebook. The arguments about gun violence in the United States still stand, regrettably, so I’m reposting it here. I especially wanted to post this on Memorial Day, since this year more American children died in school shootings than military personnel in active combat zones. This is a major human rights issue we need to keep speaking…

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Christian Folk, Can We Please Stop the Swear-Policing?

Christian Folk, Can We Please Stop the Swear-Policing?

I used to be one of those Christians that would roll my eyes and dismiss anything you had to say if you said any “four letter words.” And h*ll, sometimes I miss those days. Life was simpler then, living in a world where the avoidance of particular words meant I got to ignore other opinions and feel more holy. It was simpler to think that I was better and others who didn’t follow that code were lesser. It was simpler…

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On Celebrating Assertiveness Wins in the Face of Evil

On Celebrating Assertiveness Wins in the Face of Evil

I won’t lie, friends: it’s been a tough week to be grading final exams. Don’t get me wrong: I dearly love seeing the wins during these interpersonal and small group communication and leadership take-home finals. There’s usually nothing as cool as hearing about the ways the concepts my students are learning about conflict styles and stress and shame and civility are already impacting lives. There’s usually nothing so fabulous as hearing the super-smart and shy students talk about how much…

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